June 2020 books

This is the latest post in a series I started in late 2019, anticipating the twentieth anniversary of my bookblogging which will fall in late 2023. Every six-ish days, I’ve been revisiting a month from my recent past, noting work and family developments as well as the books I read in that month. I’ve found it a pleasantly cathartic process, especially in recent circumstances. If you want to look back at previous entries, they are all tagged under bookblog nostalgia.

Things began to improve this month. with restrictions gradually easing; I went for a triumphant lunch with a colleague the day that the restaurants opened again.

We were allowed to see B again for the first time in more than three months, on her 23rd birthday.

Even so, I kept up my ten-day plague posts.

I also wrote about some of the TV we had been watching – Derry Girls, Unorthodox, The Good Place, Normal People and The Beiderbecke Affair. And I asked the thorny question, Who was both oldest former US President and oldest former Vice-President, but not at the same time?

More locally, I went to church, and made a final local video about an ancient enclave of imperial territory just across the river from us.

I read 20 books that month.

Non-fiction: 6 (YTD 32)
The Beiderbecke Affair, by William Gallagher
The Queen’s Agent: Sir Francis Walsingham and the Rise of Espionage in Elizabethan England, by John Cooper
The Ode Less Travelled: Unlocking the Poet Within, by Stephen Fry
Modern China: A Very Short Introduction, by Rana Mitter
From A Clear Blue Sky, by Timothy Knatchbull
The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir, by John Bolton

Fiction (non-sf): 3 (YTD 15)
Local Hero, by David Benedictus
The Ghost of Lily Painter by Caitlin Davies
Laatste schooldag, by Jan Siebelink (did not finish)

sf (non-Who): 5 (YTD 70)
The Sleeper Awakes, by H.G. Wells
Heaven’s War by David S. Goyer and Michael Cassutt (did not finish)
Dreaming In Smoke, by Tricia Sullivan
The Master and Margarita, by Mikhail Bulgakov
The Extremes, by Christopher Priest

Comics: 6 (YTD 21)
The Wicked + The Divine vol 2: Fandemonium, by Kieron Gillen etc
The Wicked + The Divine vol 3: Commercial Suicide, by Kieron Gillen etc
The Wicked + The Divine vol 4: Rising Action, by Kieron Gillen etc
De dag waarop de bus zonder haar vertrok, by BeKa, Marko and Maëla Cosson
The Wicked + The Divine vol 5: Imperial Phase Part 1, by Kieron Gillen etc
De dag waarop ze haar vlucht nam, by BeKa, Marko, and Maëla Cosson

5,000 pages (YTD 38,500)
4/20 (YTD 47/144) by women (Davie, Sullivan, 2x Ka of BeKa and Cosson)
1/20 (YTD 17/144) by PoC (Mitter)

The best book of this month, indeed of 2020, was Timothy Knatchbull’s From a Clear Blue Sky, his account of the Mountbatten bomb in 1979 and its aftermath; you can get it here. I also had a car-crash fascination with John Bolton’s The Room Where It Happened; you can get it here. Rana Mitter’s Modern China: A Very Short Introduction is not as exciting than either of the above but also very good; you can get it here.

I read some pretty bad books too. I gave up on Goyer and Cassutt’s Heaven’s War after a few pages; you can get it here. The short story collection Laatste Schooldag by Jan Siebelink fell flat for me; you can get it here. So did the second of the bandes dessinées by BeKa, De Dag Waarop Ze Haar Vlucht Nam; you can get it here.